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First Words About Last Wishes: The Conversation Project

Posted on 10/02/2012

The Huffington Post: Clearly I need to have The Conversation with myself even before having it with my children. They have already made it clear that they don’t want to go there, especially since their parents are much older than their friends’; of course, if logic rather than emotions were in charge, that would be a very good reason to sit down and talk. But, where to begin? The answer is The Conversation Project, co-founded by my friend the journalist Ellen Goodman. It is a website that offers everything from opening gambits for all ages and relationships, to detailed checklists of the many small decisions to be made, to guidelines for broaching the Conversation with the patient’s physician, who is often as reluctant to explore the inevitable as the family is. The Starter Kit, developed by a team of compassionate experts and offered on the site, is a supportive, unthreatening, and detailed workbook for all of us. One example that got my attention was a five-point scale to rate your end-of-life wishes between “I want to live as long as possible” to “Quality of life is more important to me than quantity.” There are also personal stories which, as personal stories always do, help you learn from the experiences of others.

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